updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon October 8, 2007
iPhone 'bricking' lawsuit
A resident of California, Timothy Smith, is the primary plaintiff in a new class action lawsuit filed against Apple, according to reports. Smith and his attorney, Damian Fernandez, say that the iPhone violates the Cartwright Act, because Apple "prohibits iPhone consumers from using and purchasing a cell phone service other than through AT&T." The lawsuit also specifies that unlocking a cellphone is legal under both normal copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has an exemption protecting the practice.
The wording of the filing blasts Apple, charging that "as a result of Apple's unlawful and anti-competitive conduct, consumers continue to pay artificially inflated prices for the iPhone and AT&T's cell phone service." Legal use of an iPhone currently requires a two-year AT&T contract in addition to the $399 price for the phone itself.
Should Smith and Fernandez win, Apple could be barred from using software locks, or requiring an AT&T contract and denying warranty service to customers with unlocked phones. Since the suit is a class action, Smith could also be joined by any number of co-plaintiffs, who would be entitled to part of "an amount according to proof at trial" as monetary compensation.
Apple has been under increasing pressure since the v1.1.1 update for the iPhone, which broke hacks for both carrier unlocking and installing native applications, in some cases rendering iPhones unusable. For its part the company has alternately backed or denied crippling hackers, attempting to manage growing public backlash.